Partially fresh out of post-production, Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan was finally released on September 4th. It is available on Disney+ Hotstar in selective countries for a premium fee of $30.
About the movie
Niki Caro’s long-awaited live-action remake of the 1998 Disney film Mulan stars Liu Yifei in the title role opposite Jet Li, Li Gong, Donnie Yen, and Jason Scott Lee. In the film, a young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior to save her father from military service. This film is reported as the most expensive film ever made by a female director with a budget of $200 million. It was shot from August 2018 through November, in New Zealand, and China. Unlike many other Disney films, this one, in particular, has only taken elements from the original film and hasn’t copied it entirely. Originally planned for a theatrical release, the film had to cancel its premiere on 9th March 2020 due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic. Thus, it was released on Disney+ Hotstar which is an OTT platform.
What did the critics have to say?
Variety’s Peter Debruge believes it has a longer shelf-life than other Disney offerings. “Director Niki Caro chooses to privilege spectacle over fidelity, cramming so much into the film that it seems rushed, rarely allowing audiences to appreciate the incredible production value invested in all its locations, sets, and costumes. Then again, her whirlwind approach invites repeat viewing, serving up clean, elegant imagery destined to have a far longer shelf-life than such disposable Disney offerings as Dumbo and Alice and in Wonderland,” the review read.
In Collider, Matt Goldberg writes that the remake feels unique even though it follows some beats of the original Disney version. “It knows where to discard elements of the animated feature, strike out on its own themes, and still retain the story’s power,” explains the critic. Goldberg goes on to share, “Freed from the shackles of ‘Make it like the other thing, but also add tedious explanations and bad CGI,’ Mulan has a life and vibrancy that we haven’t really seen in a live-action Disney movie since 2015’s Cinderella, which also had the confidence to depart from its source material and focus more on lavish production design and costumes.” He wishes that the film is re-released once the pandemic is under control as Caro has made it with the big-screen in vision.
BBC’s Nicholas Barber called it a “solid tween movie” and wrote, “Niki Caro’s film is a well-constructed family-friendly wuxia drama, with bright colors, grand scenery, and commendable themes. But it’s best enjoyed if you’re expecting a solid tween movie rather than a monumental cinematic landmark.”
These are just a few reviews from some well-known critics, but most of the critics claim that Mulan is the best live-action remake from Disney in years.